Friday, February 15, 2019

News like uncompleted fairy tales

Stories and News No. 1157
Once upon a time.
Everything starts like this, from fairy tales to our own life.
Which in the early days is wonderfully slow, with small hands and eyes made wide by curiosity for everything, regardless of the flowing time, at least until it comes to knock on our door demanding an early growth.
Sometimes it’s an obligation that tastes of pain and unbridgeable voids. Often, it’s just the need to take the responsibilities that someone else have guiltily left us as inheritance.
Nonetheless, from your official entry into the world of the so-called adults, the haste becomes master of your life.
There is no time, there is no more, it never was, until you are convinced that it has always been like that, from the very beginning.
Nevertheless, as an adult you are formally invited to be aware of what’s happening beyond your nose.
Well, where do adults find information about the things of the world?
Long ago there was only the TV News, as a solo voice to tell the so-called facts of the day, along with the newspapers.
Thanks to the advent of Internet, much has changed. Above all, it allowed the actuality’s tellers to be many more. Some came from above, lots from below, as much as the most extreme points of thought and perceiving reality.
That it was good, this is undoubted, because plurality means enrichment for everybody.
What has remained the same, however, in many Western and old countries, it’s the way we read the news.
It has been said, more on, and it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: there is no time and there has never been, in our memory, and because of the haste, never our superficiality, we will only take what we want to hear.
This leads us, paradoxically, when the story began.
Once upon a time.
As in fairy tales, which children had all the time in the world for.
However, as adults, everything stops shortly beyond the title, with at most a quick look at the summary.
An ocean of news articles read as shreds of stories deprived of the fundamental plot, which in the last twenty years have formed and calcified the public opinion of an entire generation.
So, we started to lose the best of each story, reading the news like uncompleted fairy tales.
Well, imagine one of the most famous among the latter as the headlines of a news magazine.

Little Red Riding Hood would become “Wolf eats girl child and her grandmother”, pointing the target on the ferocious animal, or “Hunter kills wolf and finds in the belly two people still alive”, using the usual clickbait with the video that resumes the belly’s incision.
Read it as the evil beast, but for the most, the bad wolf.
Inevitably, the article would focus on the latter, and on the danger due to its species. Because, once slammed the usual monster on the front page, automatically all the wolves would become bad, especially in the eyes of the most careless of readers. Only a few of them would be interested in the actual affair in detail. And we already know the consequences of the popularity of the fact in its most striking aspects.
For months, years, to the bitter end, journalists and columnists, TV hosts and influencers, but also Youtubers and VIPs, obviously politicians or normal people who aspire to popularity at any price, would begin to daily devote themselves to the problem of bad wolves in our countries.
Social pages would come up like mushrooms to defend the brave little girls, but also sheep, chickens and hens, threatened by the vile ferocious beast.
At the same time, the sale of shotguns and the propulsion to create brave patrols of poachers would exponentially increase.
Not to mention the experts in the various talk shows that will dwell on the mellifluous and perfidious nature of a creature capable of posing as a poor old grandma to feed on her nephew.
Needless to say, that would be just a matter of time, before someone almost exclusively based their political party's program on the war against the evil wolves that infest our woods.
What a pity.
What a great misfortune, this rush.
What a serious mistake, it’s having not the opportunity to read the whole story.
How many fundamental questions could arise, to nurture the intellect and open the mind.
For example, wondering why the mother of such a small child, who should be aware of the risks, decides instead to let her go alone in the woods.
Where is the father, when needed, would be the second inescapable question.
Then we might ask ourselves about an aspect of crucial importance: why do we call bad a creature that, as a predator, does nothing but satisfy its natural need for food?
Until an observation that every child, still protected from the anxiety of age, would be able to do.
In the fable we talk about a wolf, just one, nor a pack, let alone all the wolves in the world.
Instead, there is no time, there is no more, and because the hurry and especially our frivolity, we have deprived the tales and today's representation of a moral which to get precious teaching from.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Marionettes and spectators

Stories and News No. 1156
So, let's start from here.
Imagine that Giuseppe Conte was a great statesman, he was the Prime Minister elected for his skills and merits, that he authoritatively leaded a two-colored government formed by Luigi Di Maio’s Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini’s League, who respected the man and relied on his competent and wise leadership. Thanks to the three, Italy was living a brilliant phase of its economic, cultural and social growth.
Well... if you think so, stop here, I understand. I mean, no, I don’t really have any idea of what whirls in your mind, but I don’t think you'll easily agree with the following.
From this point on, then, let's say that Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe at the European Parliament, is right about what he recently said about Italian premier and the current government.
Let’s consider his accusations reasonable, that Conte is a puppet in the hands of Di Maio and Salvini.
Therefore, according to this thesis, the Italy Premier is a man who accepted his position knowing that, once he took his oath, he would put himself at the service of the other two, following their will, promptly following what both demand.
I mean, like a mother who spoils her two children, undergoing their arrogance, satisfying their whims and enduring their continuous and selfish quarrels, to the detriment of their education. Like a president put in charge of the umpteenth poor country, but with the ground rich of oil, by the nth foreign power. Is it not clear? Like the Bounty’s boatswain who mistreated the sailors and especially the hubs proving to be loyal to Captain Bligh and his cruel management of the crew.
Do you like it? No? Okay, okay. I will be short, then: like a marionette, which, with more or less invisible threads, is maneuvered from above.

So, imagine the scene, like a fairy tale, or a stage play.
Once upon a time there was a marionette of flesh and blood, who, like the well-known wooden puppet, lied knowing he was lying, in his case about his autonomy to decide and lead an entire country.
The marionette of flesh and blood – if Verhofstadt is right, was nothing more than a puppet whose arms and legs, as well as of the mouth, with words and speeches, were driven by his masters.
The puppeteers, Di Maio and Salvini, were above the stage, suitably unseen.
Now, still following the Verhofstadt’s version of Conte and his government, what is lacking in this metaphorical theater is the audience.
In other words, the paying viewers.
Well, it's us, all of us, no one feels expelled from the hall, except the immigrants, given the recent Italian politics.
However, following the metaphor, the spectators are all those who pay with their own pocket, or with their own life, this childish staging. And if the highest price determines the best chair, then let's face it, come on, the more comfortable seats are intended for them, the migrants. Then young people and women, persons with health problems and all the marginalized and discriminated categories of our society.
That’s the fate of those who act as extras in the lucky few people’s dream: to be the protagonists of everyone's nightmare.
Here we are, then, all gathered, in front of the show that has been started for quite a while now.
The marionette talks and dances in an uncoordinated and confused style, sometimes because waiting for the command, others because the two occult directors quarrel with each other.
Yet, most of us assist in good order, some even praising and applauding the performance, even after paying the ticket, and not even having the alibi to not knowing that the actor on stage is a living marionette, but without life.
I leave you with questions that I consider as compelling as unavoidable.
If this is the actual reality in which we live today, what makes us remain seated without protest?
Why we endure, and we are happy with that?
But above all, why we are convinced that this is the best we can have?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Do you need anything?

Do you need anything?

A short story by
Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

We dream.
We often forget we did, but sometimes something survives in the morning.
Frequently it’s the most terrible nightmares to see the daylight, but even some beautiful dreams cross the threshold of consciousness and are the most vivid ones, despite improbable, with hints of reality that often is more tangible than what we actually touch every day with bare hands.
The same happens with some stories and at the end of the day you don’t know if you've dreamed, or just read a strange tale.
This is what occurred to Sam, eleven years and a rather vulnerable imagination before the castles in the air that surround us every day.
That Sunday he had spent most of the afternoon in the hospital to visit his grandmother, ninety years old and a destiny now marked by the usual, unforgiving tumor.
The good thing was that all her children, and most of the relatives, were close to her, to accompany her in the last part of her life.
In the evening, after having dinner and watched some TV with his parents, the little boy went to sleep, full of thoughts.
He turned off the bedside lamp, closed his eyes, and after a few moments he fell asleep.
The REM phase didn’t take long to go on stage, with the unconscious manager to lead his amazing theatrical company of memories and fantasies. Because, let's not forget, at eleven years dreams have such a power to create great shows, this is undoubted.
"Welcome, doctor," a young lady in white told him once the curtain of his brain had opened. She was so much like the nurse who was taking care of her grandmother. "I accompany you for your usual visit."
Sam accepted without discussing the role assigned by his psyche.
Because, let's not forget that too, at eleven the courage to get involved is also spectacular.

"This is a hospital, right?" He asked to be sure where he was.
"Sure, doc. We are in the ‘clinic of the contrary needs’. "
"And I'm the doctor."
"Sure, you're not an adult like our patients."
"Don’t we have children patients?"
"Doctor, are you kidding me? You and all the kids are the only ones who can treat those grown-ups."
Sam didn’t understand what the girl meant, but it was only a matter of time before he had it all clear.
"Come, let me meet our guests."
They entered a room, also very similar to the grandmother’s, where there was a guy in front of a computer who was talking about stock exchange and shares.
"As you well know, doctor," said the nurse, "here we treat the misunderstood needs. This man is convinced that it’s nature that needs us when it’s exactly the opposite. That's why he loses his time making money, instead of taking care of the environment."
The second patient was a guy who, with lime and bricks, was intent on pulling up walls after walls around him.
"This man believes that immigrants need him, ignoring that it’s exactly the contrary. Because humanity is just the one who knocks on your door. Without you’re like an endless desert, where mirages are all that will remain in your hands at your death."
The third patient, on the other hand, was a guy who had stuffed his head into a monitor, like a kind of diving helmet.
"He is the craziest one," said the girl, "because he is persuaded that he doesn’t need to listen to his neighbors, while the latter have this need. As if his voice is everything, and everything is the nothing that depends on it."
Another one swam in a bathtub full of cell phones, and he was the man who thought he needed a phone to meet others, neglecting the mocking reality.
"Which one?" Sam asked.
"Simple, doctor, you should know it better than me. He’s one of those men who are obsessed of needing objects, rather than the inverse. "
And so on, the journey continued in the clinic of contrary needs, where the adults were treated for their absurd contradictions.
So, at the end of the tour – and of the dream, he asked the most important question.
"Why am I the doctor?"
"Because only a child, who needs all the best that the adults might offer him, is able to remind them of the importance of welcoming the gifts of life and recognizing them if they are revealed."
Music, curtain closed, and sunlight through the window.
Sam lifted his eyelids and rushed to the kitchen, where his mother was preparing breakfast.
He approached her, he said good morning, the woman answered the greeting, and then the child whispered: "Mom..."
"Yes, Dear?"
"Tell me, do you need anything?"

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The craziest wall

Stories and News No. 1155
There is a hell.
It’s here on earth.
Sometimes you could find it in the mind of some.
Often in the emptiness of the latter of a few, who are doing their utmost to make life difficult for many.
In this hell, placed in plain sight on the surface of the most maltreated planet of the solar system, there is a particular infernal circle, eccentric, to say the least.
Indeed, it’s literally so.
In fact, there is a strange kind of damned persons living in it indefinitely.
These creatures are so devoid of intelligence that the small brain left has avenged the heart for its loneliness, wounding it to death where it proverbially suffers.
That is, where the eye obsessively looks at what doesn’t exist except in a madman’s delirium.
In the aforementioned circle there have been assembled the crazies who have dedicated their very existence to the construction of walls even more insane than them.
So, follow me, as an improvised Virgil, and you, as a new Dante, descend with me to the most unconscious ring of this filthy spiral.
The guests of the latter build a wall every day. They fall asleep at sunset thinking they have finished their schizophrenic task, but in the morning the wall is broken down and they are forced to start over. So on, for eternity.
Starting from the top, on the largest circle there are those who build a wall pretending to prevent the falling stars’ light from reaching the most indomitable dreamers’ gaze, who just need the flash of a second to dedicate a whole life to their utopias.
Below are those who are building a wall to forbid a mother from embracing her son every time they both desire nothing else from the common destiny.
Further down there are those who delude themselves to place a wall between the civil conscience and the supportive action of good will people, as if they weren’t the same thing to them.
Immediately below, there are those who believe that their wall was capable of stopping the truth seekers’ race towards the horizon they have chosen, ignoring that those who aren’t satisfied with lies, they’ll go on to the bitter end, because they love and respect all the right questions, even if they’ll never be answered.
In some cases, especially for that.
Then there is a ring inhabited by those who are persuaded that their wall will blind those who see only humanity around, where their senses are no longer able to distinguish what is alive from what is about to be born.
So, there is a ring where some stand up with their own bodies to make themselves a wall between the hopes of the poor and even the slightest possibility of their realization. As if these invisible yet indomitable aspirations were something tangible or even stoppable. And so on, down, and still down. From ring to ring, ever smaller, with the madness that grows as the circumference diminishes, until we’ll reach the most foolish of all.
Here he is, look at him with me and pity this guy...

Look at the madman who concentrates every effort to build the craziest wall.
The one that should hinder the path of people who wish to survive, allowing their own children to have a better life.
Well, do you know, among other things, why is it the craziest?
Because since the first man on earth appeared, it’s the one that was knocked down more and with greater noise...

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Italy’s joke

Stories and News No. 1154
The joke:
Listen to this.
There is a palace, right? A strange building in the shape of a boot, you know? But it stands up, despite everything it's standing and people try to live better.
Anyway, listen, because it didn’t end up here.
There are 60 people in the building, okay? There are those living on the ground floor, those at half height, and who obviously is at the attic.
That’s typical.
What you don’t know is that among the 60 people, 55 have the same citizenship, the building’s one, okay? Imagine that the building is like a nation, right?
Well, therefore, you can call the 5 remaining as foreigners. But they still live in the building, you know? But for most of the 55, they are “the 5 foreigners on the building”.
Yes, I know, it’s funny, but I haven’t finished yet, wait.
You must also know that in this palace people continue to decline year after year. They’re always less, do you understand?

Consider that the “inhabitants of controlled origin” - let's call them like that, are becoming less, together with a slight increase of the foreigners, but the result doesn’t change that much.
The building is slowly emptying. This is the trend, okay? Like one of those old skyscrapers in the suburbs that over time are empty, you know?
Wait, I still have something to say.
As evidence of what I just told you, regardless of whether mothers are among the 55 or that handful of so-called 5 foreigners, births are less each year.
Do you understand what I mean?
Less children are born every year. It means that fewer couples are around, or the latter find hard to be optimistic about the future, which to invest on by forming and expanding their family.
At the same time, you should know that in this building life expectancy improves.
Therefore, especially among the 55, the average age annually rises.
Well, do you begin to imagine what kind of place is that?
Apart from a small number of families with children, you have a lot of elderly guys or living alone, while the few young people take their belongings and move away.
At the risk of sounding monotonous, I summarize to make you better realize the absurdity.
Consider an old building, with fragile foundations and poor infrastructure, okay?
In the palace, I told you, there are 60 people: 55 call themselves citizens and the 5 remaining are branded as foreigners, with limited rights and dignity, okay?
Most of those 55 are old and lonely, you know? And every year they are less and older.
Listen, now, listen carefully, because this is really crazy.
Suddenly a guy who lives on the upper floors arrives, proposing himself as a building administrator.
Do you want to know what he tells the 55 to get elected?
He tells them that things will be better for everyone if they allow him to evict those 5 foreigners...
But not only that: if they prevent other strangers from entering the palace, everyone will live happily ever after.
Well, look, do you want to know how it ends?
They elected him!
Can you believe it?

The reality:
According to the last Italian National Institute of Statistics report: Less residents are in Italy. At the first of January 2019 the population corresponds to about 60 million inhabitants, over 90 thousand less than the previous year. The population of Italian citizens has fallen to about 55 million, while foreign citizens are 5 million. Births are falling among Italian women but also among foreigners. At the same time, in 2018 there is a new increase in life expectancy at birth. For men it’s about 80 years while for women it’s 85. Italian young citizens continue to go away without returning.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Dirty work

Stories and News No. 1153
Let’s talk about freedom.
What a powerful invention it is.
In the hands of those who grant it and especially those who tell stories about it.
In this regard, I give you an excerpt from Freedom House's recent, customary annual report on the conditions of freedom in the world: punitive approaches to immigration are resulting in human rights abuses by democracies - such as Australia’s indefinite confinement of seaborne migrants in squalid camps on the remote island of Nauru, the separation of migrant children from their detained parents by the United States, or the detention of migrants by Libyan militias at the behest of Italy - that in turn offer excuses for more aggressive policies towards migrants and refugees elsewhere in the world. Populist politicians’ appeals to “unique” or “traditional” national values in democracies threaten the protection of individual rights as a universal value, which allows authoritarian states to justify much more egregious human rights violations.

It’s freedom, ladies and gentlemen, which is a weapon too, when it’s used by a government characterizing the whole country.
In our case, Italy, even since our birth as a nation.
In fact, this privilege – which makes us a fortunate nation before to the so-called dictatorships of the planet, historically consists in the freedom to entrust the most unpleasant tasks to others.
I refer to saying and doing what we are ashamed of, but it’s something that many of us always want to say and do.
However, it’s certainly not in the DNA of this land to directly take responsibility for the rot that stagnates inside.
A the end of the day, there is always someone who’ll do what it must do, but when it sucks out, nobody knew anything about it.
Speaking of the last century, you can see for instance the former fascist who becomes democratic and Christian, into a grotesque as paradoxical mutation, saying he had certainly no idea what the Nazis were doing to the Jews.
The decades have followed one another, for this strange kind of republic built on the most convincing words, rather than the evidence of the facts, but the role game has remained the same.
According to the current script, the vice Premier Luigi Di Maio plays the voice of the average citizen.
Giuseppe Conte is the moderator on the field, a fundamental figure, and acts a bit like the classic TV presenters, always ready to stop any exuberance from the most irreverent comedians.
But it’s Matteo Salvini who lives the most fulfilling role, at least for him.
Being a villain on the theater stage, like in the movies, is a hoot, because you have permission for once to show off the worst of you, and even get paid and applauded for it.
It’s a kind of freedom that is so coveted, dormant in the consciousness of every human being, that today, by dint of confusing the vocabulary of our decency, we have incredibly managed to transform into something normal.
This is why those who guide our countries in these times no longer need to delegate to others the opportunity to vent their inhumane instincts on the most defenseless creatures in the world.
The real problem is that by insisting to attend cowardice and pusillanimity, we have not understood that being cruel with the weakest ones is not a form of courage either.
Quite the opposite.
In that we are good, we have always been. And whether it might be our government, or someone else doing the dirty work for us, the judgment of history about our actions won’t change.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The dreams boat

The dreams boat

Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

Once upon a time there was a land.
It looks like an island, but it is not, really, it definitely is not.
Despite today's rulers do everything to make it seems so.
I mean, isolated from the world, from the seas and other lands, but also from irrepressible hopes, which you can simply call dreams.
This is what we live for, everywhere.
Nonetheless, there was once a land where someone needed to erase them.
So, where memory becomes more vulnerable, where the medications applied over time to heal wounds and deep lesions were rushed and superficial, imagine to delete the key fragments.
Read them as well as the story steps that explain you better when and why you were wrong then.
As if we removed the scene where the witch from Snow White's fairy tale tries to give her the poisoned apple.
How many women have learned from that to distinguish between a deadly fruit and a loving gift?
As if we obscured in the Iliad the moment when the brave Achilles succumbs to the Paris’ arrow straight on his fragile heel.
How many of us have so learned the art of carefully protecting our weaknesses?
As if we removed from the story of Pinocchio all the times he understands the stupidity of lying to the dearest people.
How many lies have we spared those we love, thanks to the example of the past story?

Well, imagine yourself living today in such a place, deprived of the ability to fantasize a better horizon.
Then, as it often happens, wind or destiny brings back what you have unnaturally tried to extinguish from your existence.
Our case, our story, is all there.
A ship that reveals itself on the magical line between heaven and earth.
At first it appears tiny, and slowly becomes big before our eyes, as the distances diminish and the illogical voids created by fools are filled.
It’s a special boat, the one that approaches our shores and invades the fears of the cowards.
It’s a ship full of living dreams.
It’s also a spell due to an undue cancellation, the one that infects your denuded eye of empathy and fantasy, which shows you only strange people suffering for the trip, spreading also threats to your safety.
Every face, each human form, every look, they are all literally dreams which we have lost value and knowledge of.
The dream of being alive the following day.
And the dream of drinking water at all times thirst requires.
The dream of having a bed of your own.
And the dream of having food on the plate at least once a day.
The dream that your child can still dream of.
And the dream that he can at least live, even without you.
The dream of touching the earth with your heart, even before your feet and hands.
And the dream of knowing that there is something at the end of the dream, which is worth it of dying and dreaming...

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Maduro vs Guaidó: which side are you on?

Stories and News No. 1152
Take a side, they say.
Indeed, no, they demand it.
Because it’s a duty to do it, otherwise you are an accomplice.
Even at a far distance.
They say: don’t you see the others?
United States first, of course, they’re always first, if it’s necessary, but also Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and France have publicly clarified which side they are on.
Come on, take a stand between the “grim dictator” Nicolás Maduro and the nascent democratically elected star, that is, Juan Guaidó.

It’s the world that asks for it, because the fate of the latter depends on who is with whom.
It’s urgent to face the Venezuelan question, the invitation cannot be ignored.
On the other hand, they will certainly have asked you to do the same with Erdogan's Turkey, whose regime tramples daily on the human rights of its citizens.
Take a side, you will have certainly heard it, take a side on North Korea and its dictator Kim Jong-un.
Of course, you have already declared your distances from the current government in Poland by the party of Andrzej Duda, accused among other things of promulgating illiberal and dangerous laws from the judicial point of view. Take a side, gosh, as you have already done in relation to the work of Viktor Orban, who has virtually transformed the government of Hungary into an autocratic structure that controls the whole business system.
Needless to say, even before the diatribe between Maduro and Guaidó, they asked you to express yourselves on Aleksandr Lukashenko, who rules completely undisturbed Belarus since twenty-five years...
I know, it's obvious.
You have already disapproved Putin's leadership in Russia, and Ramzan Kadyrov’s, in Chechnya, implicated in cases of torture and murder.
How many times have they already told you to take a side on Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the umpteenth dictator of Turkmenistan and Nursultan Nazarbaev, the so-called "leader of the nation" of Kazakhstan.
I am certainly not surprised at the thought of seeing you indignant before the authoritarian drift of Emomali Rahmon, in Tajikistan, and the lack of press freedom in Azerbaijan by Ilham Aliyev.
Take a side is a warning that will come incessantly at the bottom of your sensitive ears, on the sham elections of Hun Sen, in Cambodia as the dictatorship of Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has governed Thailand since 2014 thanks to a coup d'etat.
I suppose, in fact, I am certain that you have signed hundreds of critical petitions against the government of Hassanal Bolkiah, the sultan of Brunei who reigns over the latter as if it were his own, and shown your heartfelt dissent towards the bloody president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.
Who has not expressed strong condemnation of Theodore Obiang, who started his dictatorial regime in Equatorial Guinea in August 1979, 40 years ago?
That is why taking a side on Venezuela is a compelling obligation, both moral and political.
Oil is not the main problem, come on, let’s be serious.
I mean... it has something to do with that, it always has to do with it, but the population is suffering this situation, right? And when the peoples of the world suffer this kind of situation, the countries and the responsible citizens take a side.
They always do…

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Down in the well

Stories and News No. 1151
Once upon a time a well.
A deep one, very deep, so deep, that you cannot see darkness, rather than light, because down there it has reached such shades that not even the mostly abused black could be enough to describe it.
For the record, in the well there is now a poor two-year-old child.
His life is hanging on a thread interwoven with the same substance which our perseverance in saving our neighbor is composed of.
I refer to a special string of inestimable value, which we should take care of every day, as many men do with their cars.
Following the banal metaphor, we should check the oil and the water, the tire pressure and the condition of the bodywork with inevitable punctuality.
Because everyone, sooner or later, could be on the weakest rope’s end.
So, I save you, who save me, who saves him, who saves her, who saves everyone, must be written on the rings of this allegorical chain of solidarity.
Being the only species in the world who should be remembered every sunrise of being a species, and not a solitary individual to the detriment of all others, our problem is well we have neglected that hole as if it were normal. As if all the wells, which we are indifferent walk on, were ineluctable, simple whims of fate, or even something right.
In other words, as if the voids of living were nothing but indispensable to the full ones.
That’s incredible, don’t you agree? One could even start to think that the many poor people are a necessary evil, in order to guarantee the favorable life of the small amounts of rich.
Yes, I know, I do realize that it would be a paradoxical world...
Above all, we should reflect on a detail that is anything but negligible: we built that well. Or we just forgot it behind us, chasing the usual golden carrot like masses of donkeys.
In that well there is now a child who needs help, so, come on, bring him back to the light safe.

However, much more has precipitated with him, without anyone caring.
On the contrary, there are people who lead the world who at this very moment are boasting themselves about that.
While down there, in the darkness that has shown with the facts how it could overcome further limitations of indecency and inhumanity, there is also the empathy for our fellow creatures.
It fell down there also the ability to remember, which is not one of the many actions that we take for granted, how to feed if hunger demands it and sleep, when we have to.
Because memory is like a box that grows with us in every moment of life, but it is as inert, alone. It takes the right time, the best calm and love for the past as well as for the future to open it and find the answers to the unanswered questions of the present.
But more than anything else, down there, in spite of a deafening thud, we left our inclination towards indignation before injustice and arrogance.
As if our ears had been infected by the same virus that hit our hearts, we didn’t even notice.
So, as it has been in the past centuries, before the time when such atrocities will be publicly disclosed, we’re ready to say: “We did not know anything about it, no one had informed us.”
Once upon a time a well, finally.
A ditch that widens visibly. And, if we won’t do something about it, it will swallow us too. As long as there will be no longer someone up there, to get us out...

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019 short story

The memory that should survive

A short story by
Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher

It’s January 27, 2019. We are at Auschwitz, on the right date, for the memory’s value and, above all, the reverberation that the latter should have in our lives. Where the aforesaid verb - forgive the repetition, it should not be conditional.
Here we are, it's all a matter of time, this is the common affair that binds us all, people, but also verbs and stories.
It's late night and Claudia is around again, as it often happens. At sixteen it’s not a good thing to stay out late, used to complain her grandmother, but it’s a message that becomes nothing, once arrived at the girl's ears.
Since the parents disappeared in a damn car accident, which took place three years ago, the night is her favorite setting, it’s the ideal color to paint the walls of her wounded imagination, it’s the mother that welcomes everyone and in the fair darkness that makes no distinction between humans.
Nonetheless, she is not around to do damage or to transgress any rules.
The girl is simply convinced that the most important things, like truth and love, or the most successful paintings, deserve the best light.
The night’s, yes right.
Thus, despite having listened carefully to the guide’s story, together with the students gathered at the praiseworthy visit to the concentration camp, she didn’t resist the need to observe the remains of the legalized abomination with personal care.
It’s not as cold as I thought, she says getting off the bicycle temporarily borrowed, after having already looked at it in the afternoon, returning to the hotel with her companions.
Thus, she advances slowly, greedily savoring the silence that the land demands, as well as a broad and ready look at everything, taking note of each detail.
Maybe because of the gloomy atmosphere, or perhaps her macabre fantasy, over time nurtured by lots of Gothic literature and horror movies, suddenly a sinister noise reaches her ears.
So, because of her natural predisposition to such inadmissible appearances, Claudia advances intrigued by seeing the ghosts that move towards her, emerging in a random order from the abandoned farmhouses in the camp.

Then, all of a sudden, they all stop at the gate, carefully avoiding passing it.
The girl, far from frightened, approaches, as if she were in front of someone she has known for some time.
It often happens to those who have met the loved ones’ death being too young.
"You are the victims' souls, am I right?" She asks, addressing a boy more or less of her age, in appearance.
"Yes," he says.
"I know it's not so relevant, now, but I want to tell you that I'm very sorry for what happened to you."
"Thanks. But tell me, how is the world now out there? The war is over? Are you at peace? Who rules on earth?"
Claudia has the impression of not being the first to whom he addresses those questions. And in fact, only then, she realizes that everyone else is staring at her, anxious to know her answer.
Although she understands the considerable responsibility she has to deal with, she also understands to have an obligation to speak. Because this is what the fallen ones are asking, especially those who have been unjustly killed. Our voice, our honest and conscious voice.
"The war was won by the US, whose current president has split the nation in half as never before. He threatens the countries, people and cultures he doesn’t like every day, and he wants to build a wall between North America and Mexico. "
"What about Russia?"
"It is led by a man who demonstrates that he has no respect for human rights and democracy, while his government, like the US too, systematically intervenes within foreign elections, to divide and create chaos to his advantage."
"Go ahead," exclaims the ghost of a woman next to the boy.
"Forgive me," says Claudia with her eyes getting wet. "I’m sorry, I’d like to give you good news. I’d like to tell you that the Nazis are gone, but they’re not. They are everywhere, they have different faces, new ways of speaking, and in some countries they sit in parliament too. And although they use other names and symbols, their racist and inhuman message is the same. Some are in the government of my country, today, as in Austria... yes, just where he was born, but also in Hungary and Brazil. Even here in Poland... yes, I know, it's crazy, it's incredible, but it's all true. This is the real absurdity, not the ghosts before me, who I am speaking with at this very moment, but the reality behind me. "
"What about the Jews?" Asks an old man from the bottom of the crowd. "Are they still persecuted?"
"No, but every age has its favorite victims. Today they are migrants."
"Who are them?" The boy asks.
"Migrants are human beings who are discriminated and humiliated, sacrificed and exploited, killed or left to die, just as happened to you."
"If they are not Jews," asks a child making his way between the boy and the woman. "What do they accuse them of?"
"Of being what they are, just migrants, people who try to survive the best by leaving their land for the new one."
"Did the Jews come to the promised land?"
"Not all, now they are scattered around the world, but those in Israel live under a government that does everything to be at war with the nearest and, despite what both sides might say, most similar people on earth: the Palestinians. "
Claudia is almost out of breath and her voice is exhausted by tears that she has hardly held back. I have no right to show tears in the face of their pain, she thinks to give herself strength.
"But please, get out of here," she adds a moment later. "You’re free, now."
"No," the boy answers immediately and with strenuous firmness, speaking also in the name of the others. "We are free, but you are not at all. And facing the great tragedy that happened here you made the worst choice."
"Which one?"
"On the altar of the offers at your disposal, on one side there were us, the dead and our illuminating stories which to learn from and on the other the field itself, with its instruments of torture and its obtuse enclosures. Well, you have chosen to let the latter survive."
“Now we are in the concentration camp,” Claudia thinks, "not you."
So, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, she crosses the threshold and joins the ghosts.
There is still time before the day after, there is time to go back to the hotel, there is time to listen and understand better what we lost.
Because, despite everything, fortunately for us, even if it will not be forever, we are still on time.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Decolonize Africa

Stories and News No. 1150
Dear white brother.
I am talking to you, Italy Vice-Premier Luigi Di Maio.
It’s your black brother who’s writing this.

Recently, I heard you talking about decolonizing Africa and I jumped on the chair.
Then you have accused France of impeding development and contribute to the departure of men dying in the Mediterranean.
You were doing so well, brother, you were doing so well.
Maybe I misunderstood.
You didn’t want to exclude Italy, right?
Because it's not true at all, you know? But we’ll get there, let's not just focus on France, and let’s talk about the topic with more attention and facts.
We are talking about foreign military bases in Africa. We are talking about installations of soldiers and vehicles by the United States and China, Russia and Germany, Turkey, India and Japan, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.
We can discuss of foreign nations that are slowly taking land from Africans, buying it under their feet. Among the major thieves of soil and nature there is also your country, the homeland of the ‘Italians first’, as well as of course the US of the wall and Austria of the closed borders, Brazil with the racist president and Great Britain who voted to isolate themselves.
Italy to the Italians and Africa to Africans, it’s not convenient to you, do you understand?
Do you realize that Italian companies are among the largest investors in Africa?
Only in 2016 Italy was at the third place with 11.6 billion dollars, behind China with 38.4 billion and the United Arab Emirates with 14.9 billion.
If you invest, it means that you earn money, man.
About oil and gas, among all the natural resources, you take away a lot, brother.
Well, what are you ready to show yourself generous with?
As soon as you realize that there is a kind of conflict, in Africa, here you come with your gifts.
For the record, only in Algeria between 2010 and 2014 Italy sold arms for 1.37 billion euros.
You are not alone among the guilty of such legalized infamy. This is the point, my brother, neither you nor France.
A recent study by the World Bank, called The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, has shown clear evidence of the impoverishment of Africa due to the reckless extraction of minerals, oil and gas, facilitated by ruthless policies on repayment of foreign loans and the repatriation of the profits of the multinationals, which make the sacking of the entire continent unchanged.
You see, the truth about Africa, in other words something that will hardly become popular in this historical moment, is that for centuries foreign countries like France, but also the United States, Great Britain, but also China and Belgium, Spain and Portugal, Germany and even Italy have robbed us of our resources without giving back anything of the spoils for the development of the continent, leaving behind wars, misery and pollution.
Dear brother, the paradox of this absurd reality, where you are Vice-Premier and I am the immigrant, is so huge and awkward that if during the next two hundred years we Africans could go anywhere in the world without finding any opposition – on the contrary receiving warm welcome, also in that improbable case you and I would be neither remotely even...

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